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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 16-July-2020


  1. Reduced 2020 harvests expected in Northwest and Southwest regions due to insecurity

  2. Prices of staple foods at high levels amid low supplies and high consumer demand

  3. Nearly 5 million people estimated to be severely food insecure in second quarter of 2020

Reduced 2020 harvests expected in Northwest and Southwest regions due to insecurity

In the northern uni‑modal rainfall areas, planting of the 2020 millet and sorghum crops was complete by June and harvesting is expected to begin in late September, while harvesting of the 2020 main maize crops will start in mid‑August in central and southern areas. Abundant rains between March and early May, particularly in the central regions, with cumulative amounts reaching levels more than twice the long‑term average, raised concerns for standing maize crops due to an excessive soil moisture and possible localized damage.

Insecurity and displacements in the Northwest and Southwest regions are expected to continue affecting agricultural activities and limit farmers’ access to fields, resulting in reduced harvests for the fourth consecutive year.

Prices of staple foods at high levels amid low supplies and high consumer demand

Prices of staple foods, such as rice, beans, potatoes, fish, plantains, cocoyams and meat, generally increased during the second quarter of 2020. Prices increased particularly in April and were above the levels of a year before due to a high consumer demand and low supplies. This reflects trade disruptions due to tight border controls and movement restrictions implemented to contain the spread of the COVID‑19 pandemic. Price hikes were registered particularly in the cities of Yaoundé and Douala.

In the Northwest and Southwest regions, the persisting conflict, coupled with increased demand and low supply, has led to a sharp rise in prices of yellow maize in April 2020, compared to a year before. Price increases, up to 30 percent year on year, were reported in the cities of Bamenda, Nkambe and Kumbo.

Nearly 5 million people estimated to be severely food insecure in the second quarter of 2020

Conflict remains the major driver of food insecurity as it affects households’ livelihoods and access to food, significantly disrupting agricultural activities and triggering the increase in staple food prices, particularly in the Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions, where fighting is still ongoing between the security forces and separatist armed groups. The security situation is also precarious in the Far North Region, where incursions of Boko Haram increased in March and April 2020, and triggered new population displacements. In addition, in March and April 2020, the Government introduced a range of restrictive measures to contain the COVID‑19 pandemic, with a negative impact on households’ income, slowing down trade flows and triggering price increases, thus limiting access to food for the most vulnerable households.

The latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis (March 2020) projected that 2.1 million people were to face severe acute food insecurity during the June‑August 2020 period. However, according to the more recent analysis conducted by FAO, WFP and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, about 4.9 million people are currently estimated to be in severe acute food insecurity, more than double the projected figure, as a result of the additional effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.